By Andrew Gilman | SoonerSports.com
NORMAN, Okla. -- Here are five things to watch for Wednesday when the Oklahoma men's basketball team plays Texas A&M at 6 p.m. CT in the first round of the Phillips 66 Big 12 Championship in Kansas City, Mo. OU owns a 29-9 series lead against the Aggies.
1. Look back
It's a one-game season for the Sooners at this point, so looking ahead won't do OU any good. But looking back certainly can. The Sooners can rely on their short-term memory to recall what they did against Texas A&M, as they topped the Aggies Saturday in Norman. And what should OU think about most? Well, the fact that it was able to win a close game. The Sooners held a double-digit lead in the second half, but had to hold off A&M late. The game was a welcome change, as OU has not exactly excelled in the closing minutes this season.
2. Get the ball to Roe
Romero Osby has been playing his best basketball of the season lately. He's averaged 14 points per game during the Big 12 season and is coming off a career-high 24 points last time out against A&M. Osby is also averaging a team-high 7.4 rebounds per game. And good news for Sooner fans: Osby has played well against the Aggies in both meetings. He scored 18 points against A&M on Jan. 21 and has made 19 of his 25 field goals in two games against A&M.
3. Get a lead
Not only would being ahead early make a big difference for the Sooners, but it's almost a necessity. OU has outscored its opponents in the second half only twice in 18 conference games this season. Meanwhile, four times OU led at halftime but failed to hold on to its advantage. The good news is the Sooners have been getting off to good starts of late. OU has led at halftime in four of its past five games, including at Baylor and at Texas.
4. Give Kansas something to consider
A win and a good showing against A&M means the Sooners should enter a quarterfinals matchup against Kansas with some confidence. The Sooners played two good halves of basketball against the Jayhawks in the two losses, albeit in two separate games. That should be enough to get the attention of top-seeded Kansas.
5. Get Clark going early
Guard Cameron Clark has slowly turned his season around. The sophomore has scored in double figures in five of the past six games after scoring 10 or more in three of the 15 games before the current run. When Clark can make a few jumpers early, his confidence seems to soar. In addition, when Clark scores, there's more room underneath for forwards Andrew Fitzgerald and Romero Osby.